IN FLANDERS FIELDS World War I Poem Written over 100 Years Ago

Over 100 Years ago during World War I, the famous & haunting poem IN FLANDERS FIELDS was written. It was penned by 41 year old Canadian Physician & Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae in May 1915.  He was moved to compose it after the hellish Second Battle of Ypres in Belgium.  It was in Ypres that poison mustard gas was first used by the German military – in the trenches surrounding No Man’s Land on the western front. He presided over the burial service of a close friend and fellow soldier, Alexis Helmer.  McCrae noticed that red poppy flowers quickly grew on the thousands of fresh graves in Flanders’ fields.  He took out his pen and pad, then wrote this brief yet moving poem:

World War I soldier pays his respect to a fallen comrade In Flanders Field
 In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
*  *  *
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
*  *  *
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

His poem was published later that year in 1915 and became one of the most popular and quoted poems of the 20th century.  Over 115,000 Canadian, British, French and German soldiers died in the Second Battle of Ypres in Belgium. John McCrea himself would die of pneumonia in 1918, before the war ended, and was buried in France with full military honors.  The total number of military and civilian casualties in World War I would be over 40 Million souls. The red poppy became the popular remembrance symbol for those who gave their lives in this war … and the second world war soon to come.

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Published by andrewspaulw

LOST IN HISTORY Blog/Podcast about key forgotten history still relevant in today's world. Paul Andrews also has 5 historical adventure novels, all available on Amazon.

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